This fight started in a press conference room in Munich and ended on West Ham’s pitch as David Haye crushed Dereck Chisora at Upton Park without needing camera tripods or bottles as weapons.
There is a lot to be said for the Marquess of Queensberry rules. These two fight a lot better in the ring than in a room full of journalists.
A bout that was a lot more creditable than the build-up finished with Haye asserting his superior class over the relentlessly malevolent Chisora, who was 37lbs heavier and rumbled in looking for the knockout that would have earned him a fight with Wladimir Klitschko.
Only once did the battle between these two turn dirty, when Chisora landed a huge left hook after the bell at the end of the third round.
But the referee took a charitable view, concluding that neither fighter had heard the signal.
Then Haye set up the finish, bombarding his fellow outlaw with precise combinations to fell Chisora twice in round five.
The first knock down scrambled Chisora’s senses. He reeled back into fighting position hoping to escape a second onslaught.
There was no hope of that. Haye delivered an even more brutal barrage and big bad Dereck was down again.
He tried to rise a second time but was saved by Luis Pabon, the referee. Beer and plastic water bottles flew into the ring but there was no appetite for a riot. Soon Haye and Chisora were hugging each other like fellow thespians.
“This is the best atmosphere I’ve been in my life,” Haye said. “This was one of the best British boxing matches of recent years.
"There was a lot of beef beforehand but we both went in there and laid our lives on the line for everyone’s entertainment.”
In his ‘Del Boy’ hood and Union Flag face mask, Zimbabwe-born Chisora’s features were hidden from the crowd as the fighters left the dressing rooms and spectators grabbed at plastic ponchos to ward off the rain.
All Chisora wanted was to present his undoubted bulk and menace. The discordantly cheery ‘Ain’t No Stopping Us Now’ blared out as Chisora awaited the arrival of Haye.
About the only thing they had in common was losing to a Klitschko brother.
This British pair are distinctly second-tier, well below the likes of Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno, but they laid on an unexpectedly credible scrap.
Chisora – whose gown was plastered with the Zimbabwe flag – disrobed to show a T-shirt saying ‘Africa is the Future.’ Then he revealed an upper body that was less than svelte.
But the fight started briskly, and entertainingly, with Haye showing he has the faster, busier hands, and Chisora attempting to counter-attack with clubbing right hands.
Finally, a little professionalism was on display. It was a boxing contest not a brawl: a good match of styles that placed both boxers at risk of being knocked-out on the counter. Both lived dangerously and took their shots.
The prelude to this contentious fight featured a press conference donnybrook in Munich and a threat from Chisora to shoot Haye in retaliation for the punch he threw before fleeing Germany and soothing his nerves in Las Vegas.
Chisora had also slapped Vitali Klitschko and spat water in the face of Wladmir, his brother.
If there were a school for scoundrels in boxing, Chisora would be its head. But his trainer, Don Charles, assures us: “I wouldn’t use the word unhinged, but he’s definitely eccentric.”
An enthused east London crowd bought tickets for a tear-up, not a trip to the moral maze. The humiliation heaped on the British Boxing Board of Control was regretted by some, but not enough to keep them away from the violent spectacle on West Ham’s turf.
In the pre-fight promo film all Chisora’s transgressions were replayed to raise the temperature, followed by a siren reminiscent of the Blitz.
This was an event that decided to ignore decorum all together, perhaps on the grounds that there was no way to finesse a contest that unfolded on the renegade fringes of the sport.
Away from boxing’s heartland the bout was widely dismissed as a reward for thuggery and a fatal blow to the authority of the Board, whose mistake was to withdraw Chisora’s licence in this country while allowing him to make alternative arrangements abroad. But there was nothing illegal about it.
The Luxembourg Boxing Federation was smug but now faces the wrath of other governing bodies. The British Board now faces a long struggle to regain its authority. A precedent has been set for using European free movement to circumvent the old structures.
But in settling a nasty feud Haye has made himself marketable again. Incredible.
“That was proper heavyweight boxing,” he said as he moved along the press seats. Money prevailed over morality, as it usually will.
Amazing what can be achieved by respecting the rules of a sport. – newzimabwe.com